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2015 Technology Gear Guide

16 gadgets to make this your best tech year ever

  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  earphones
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Hi-Tech Earphones

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

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  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - pillbox
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    A Better Pillbox

    A digital twist on a very old technology, the smart pen could revolutionize your note taking. The Livescribe 3 ($149.95) will write like any ordinary pen, but Bluetooth syncing transfers the written word to the accompanying Livescribe app on the iPhone or iPad. From there, notes can be digitized with the swipe of a finger and emailed — helpful when I forgot to pass off the handwritten grocery list to my fiancée. One drawback: You need special paper for the pen to work. For Android users, the similar Equil smart pen ($149.99) comes with a mobile-syncing device that’s placed at the top of a sheet of paper before writing, meaning that any paper notebook can be used to digitize notes.  

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  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - smarter home
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Make Your Home Smarter

    The Zubie ($99.95) works like an automotive fitness tracker: A small “key” plugs into the 16-pin diagnostics port hidden on your car’s dashboard, syncing to a smartphone app that keeps tabs on the health and location of your vehicle. The app has a map that pinpoints where the vehicle is at all times, a gas price and mileage tracker, and battery and engine monitor that sends alerts if either is malfunctioning. (No more driving around with the “Check Engine” light on for weeks.) It also tracks how you drive, noting sudden stops and excessive speeds. (Zubie awarded me the “Average Joe” and told me to ease up on my hard braking.) Only invited users can follow a particular car — which means parents with the Zubie app can see where their teen is.

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  • Get connected, stay connected

    AARP Offer: Get and Stay Connected

    AARP’s RealPad ($189) is designed to make tablet use easier for non-techies. It's a Wi-Fi-only Android-based tablet that runs a simplified roster of apps and boasts 24/7 customer service support. U.K.-based Breezie ($349 and up) is a similar product that's due to hit on our shores in 2015 as software or preloaded on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. You see only the apps you use the most; as digital literacy grows, you can add additional features via the Breezie Hub.

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  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - pen
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    A Mightier Pen

    Adding a streaming device is a quick way to connect your TV to the Internet. Here’s a breakdown of the most popular devices. The remote-controlled Roku 3 ($99.99) connects to your TV and home Internet and allows you to cue up shows and movies available on streaming services such as Hulu, Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, and as individual apps. The similar Apple TV ($99 and up) has the added benefit of being able to broadcast photos stored in iCloud, while disciples of Amazon may favor the company’s Fire TV ($99). It also has a microphone-enabled remote so you can speak to search for shows and movies. A cheaper option: Google’s tiny Chromecast ($35), which allows you to control the television via smartphone or tablet.

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  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  key finder
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Key at Last

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    6 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -   polar loop sleep
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Improve Your Snooze

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    7 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  super shoe
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    The Super Shoe

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    8 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  zubie
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Follow That Car

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    9 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  apple watch
    Courtesy Apple

    Watch This Space

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    10 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - liftware
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    A Steadier Hand

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    11 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - smart phone
    Courtesy Great Call

    Tools for Talking

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    12 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -   realpad
    David Arky (Prop Stylist: Kellie Murphy)

    Simpler Tablets

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    13 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  coin
    Courtesy Coin

    One Card to Rule Them All

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    14 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  lively
    Courtesy Lively

    Keeping Tabs

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    15 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide -  Better Bionic Ears
    Courtesy ReSound LiNX

    Better Bionic Ears

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    16 of 18
  • 50-plus Tech Gear Guide - Clear Streams
    Courtesy Amazon, Google, Apple, Roku

    Clear Streams

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    17 of 18
  • Health endslide

    More Home & Family Slideshows

    En español | Earphones don’t have to cut you off from the world. The AfterShokz AS500 Bluez 2 (pictured, $99.99) and the Panasonic BTGS10 ($199.99) use the principle of bone conduction: Tiny speakers sit just ahead of your ear, sending vibrations through your cheekbones and bypassing the sensitive eardrum completely. It’s a funky-looking contraption that really works, though sound quality can’t compete with conventional headsets. (And high volumes generate freaky-feeling cheek vibrations.) Wireless Bluetooth connectivity is easy to set up, and the phones are said to be effective for people with conductive hearing loss.

    18 of 18

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